What's a metablog?

28 February 2009 | meta | Tags: , , , ,

On the concept of a Metablog

The Online Etymology Dictionary defines Meta thusly:

 prefix meaning 1. “after, behind,” 2. “changed, altered,” 3. “higher, beyond,” from Gk. meta (prep.) “in the midst of, among, with, after,” from PIE *me- “in the middle” (cf. Goth. miþ, O.E. mið “with, together with, among,” see mid). Notion of “changing places with” probably led to senses “change of place, order, or nature,” which was the principal meaning of the Gk. word when used as a prefix. Third sense, “higher, beyond,” is due to misinterpretation of metaphysics (q.v.) as “transcending physical science.” 

The prefix “meta” as found in the wild (colloquial usage)  is frequently found in front of bodies of knowledge (e.g. “meta-physics”, “meta-language”) and in front of nouns that imply action (e.g. “meta-data”, “meta-speech”) in order to add a semantic quality of abstraction and transcendence.  “Metadata” is “data about data”, “meta-speech” would be “speaking about speech”, and “meta-language” would be the use of language to describe languages (grammars).

To put it more plainly, “meta” turns a word like physics, the study of the laws of the universe, into “metaphysics“, the study of the study of the laws of the universe.  Physicists observe and theorize on how the world works according to scientific principles, while Metaphysicists observe and theorize on how very wrong the physicists have got it.

So as far as I’m concerned, “meta-blogging” means blogging about blogging, and Wiktionary agrees with me.  In this metablog, I will be observing and theorizing on The Blog and its ancillaries such as Twitter, Facebook, and the like.

Topics I will probably cover soon:

  • SEO critiquing websites, sizing up their potential for search optimization
  • Eliminating writer’s block by allowing market research to influence your writing
  • Strategic use of Twitter, and why it’s such a unique communications medium

I use Twitter a lot.  Here’s my personal Twitter account — I am “nthmost” of course. 


Related content around the web:

“Our Bold Blog Definition” on Dan’s Metablog — an essay on nailing down the definition of a “blog”

“Metablogging” on Writing for the Web 3.0 — a series of blog categorizations based on the author’s observations of blogging trends


Ironically, the only category that works for this post is “meta”.   Does that make the content of this post “meta-metablogging”?

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